Wednesday, October 16, 2013

unicorns! show ponies! where's the beef!?!

Six weeks into the fantasy season and although I still have no idea why this guy suddenly gets verbal Tourette's on live television, I think we can all sympathize. It's been an up and down season for just about every manager in the Playoffs!?! fantasy league this year. Yes, even VZ, as he won what will probably be his only game this season in week 1. Even the to date dominant Commish squad started slow at 1-1-1. So while confusion might cloud much of the fantasy realm, it's time to pierce the dark skies with the light of logic.


A mythical, reportedly beautiful creature used to shield children and their joyously enraptured hearts from the truly frightening implications of apocalyptic scenarios, the unicorn symbolizes a sense of longing for the unknown and impossible. This longing is not to be outdone by the pangs felt by Chris Umphlett for Matthew Stafford.
I do realize that the northern Midwest can be a cold, hard, desolate place with brutal winters and dwindling economic prospects. Certainly, no one would claim East Lansing falls into this category. (Insert name of obscure "celebrity" who was born/lives there but isn't famous enough to even be recognized from obscure, low-rent reality shows.)

Jerry's Belt Buckle was loosened as his inner desire spilled forth in a questionable trade this week.

Drew Brees and his second to only Peyton Manning point total for the season was sent to Pirates like he was Tom Hanks looking to get back in Academy Award contention. In return, Umphlett's prized show pony, Stafford, boarded his boat just as a defunct Ray Rice washed ashore alongside him. It's not fair to call Rice washed up but it his fair to declare his now-31st ranked run blocking unit DOA. Rice didn't get that much worse just because Ray Lewis is wearing suits on the sideline. But too many Ravens' offensive lineman are now injured and sharing that sideline for his fantasy fortunes to change much going forward.

All in all though I'm not as down on this trade as I might be. Jeff has officially turned the page on the RGIII era as I don't see how he can ever regain the trust of his supposed franchise player after this vote of no confidence. This locker room and relationship could quickly turn uglier than the Shanahan-Griffin relationship.

On the one hand, Brees is likely the only QB with the potential to duel with Manning in a weekly shootout (now that Aaron Rodgers has lost one of his top weapons in "Reggie" Cobb). But on the other, we're all chasing The Commish this year at the QB spot and we're going to lose that fight. The only question is by how much. Jeff needed to make up some points from the loss of his WR1. He did that and more with this trade and the pickup of Keenan Allen.

And Umphlett won't have to suffer through the brutal winter of Siberia--or wherever he lives--alone. (Sidenote: How many weeks will it take for Stafford to adjust to the time difference?) Watch out little sweetener family, papa's got a brand new bag (of sugar).

(I'm starting the lobbying now. If gay marriage becomes legal in Michigan and Chris walks the aisle with Stafford, I say we nickname him "Equal.")


Started from the bottom, now we're here/Started from the bottom, now the whole team here/...We don't like too much explainin'/Story stayed the same, I never changed it

So croons Drake, the rapper/wannabe singer and all-around hype machine on his new Nothing Was the Same album's first single. (Available for purchase on Amazon. I'm a company man! Does Amazon have a theme song?) Parlaying a pretty decent mixtape and a start on Degrassi into hip hop stardom seems unlikely, but Drake's "lady-friendly" beats have made him a new school Ladies Love Cool James. It might not be a career path you want to retread if you want to make it to legendary MC status but it's not bad for paying the bills.

Some hype trains set their tracks toward greatness, however.

Since the beginning of the year, yours truly, black is for sunday has been hoping nothing will be the same.  Unfortunately, it started out exactly the same as for the fourth time in franchise history my squad dropped our first three contests of the fantasy football season.

Then, Jeff posted this picture.
And the win streak began. Now having scored the third most points in the league to this point, I'm right back in the thick of the playoff hunt while my star players are beginning to hit their stride after various slow starts out of the gate.

I never changed my goals for the year. I still plan to see The Commish engraving my name into the side of that trophy right about next February. And you all can thank the KayakPirates for awakening a sleeping giant and filling him with a terrible resolve.

The Hype Train Cometh.


I'd say there's a lot of common legend between the triumvirate of unicorns, The Commish and Peyton Manning. Much like the proclaimed managerial genius of The Commish and his dwarf-like minions, EVC and SVC, the prowess of the unicorn is more mystical than factual. But for a few fortuitous pickups in recent years, The Commish would have already gone the way of the unicorn--disappeared from this earth, more a tall tale than a real champion. A reminder that all magic in the end is but smoke and mirrors.

Meanwhile, his beloved Peyton Manning has even less hardware to base his mythology on. A fact that Jim Irsay may have ill-advisedly brought to the forefront in an interview this week when he said:

You make the playoffs 11 times, and you're out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love (rings).

I'm sure this could leave Manning none too pleased. But instead of firing back himself, he allowed his coach to do his dirty work for him. What does Fox say?

Well, not exactly. Actually, he said:

To me, in my opinion, (Irsay's comments) were disappointing and inappropriate. I mean, Peyton would never say anything. He's too classy to do that. But they sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me for a guy that has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won division titles, won four MVP awards. I'd be thankful with that one Super Bowl ring because there's a lot of people that don't have one.

There are a lot of people who don't have one. Including John Fox... who is hoping to ride the arm of his 37-year old quarterback to his own ring this year. But look back at what Irsay said again. What exactly out of that has Manning himself not been quoted as saying in the past? Are we really supposed to believe that Manning prefers huge numbers to Super Bowl rings? Where's the beef?

This is the classic case of the story not unfolding as the establishment would hope. Manning is supposed to be the greatest of all time. Cut from the cloth of stellar QBs, the first family of football, challenging records from the moment he stepped on a field but not enough hardware to justify all the sound and fury of his career. Manning can beat the Colts by 50 on Sunday night but it's not going to change the fact that decades after his career is over and his most ardent defenders aren't around any longer to skew the facts of his playoff failures people will ask one question consistently about his career, "Why didn't he win more?" In other words, "Where's the beef?"

Coincidentally, The Commish could be asking the very same questions by season's end.

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